If you plan on taking your tank seriously then thinking about biofiltration is something you need to do. We would go so far as to say every single tank that you want to thrive should be using a biopellet reactor.

The reason for this is that biopellet reactors can help impact your tank in ways that a mechanical filter cannot.

Here’s how:

What Are BioPellet Reactors?

Biopellet reactors are devices you can use to initiate biological filtration in your tank while being pretty hands-off.

The reason you’d want to do this in the first place is that it allows you to increase and grow the number of good bacteria in your tank. This bacteria helps reduce ammonia, toxins, and organic waste from your water.

Normal filtration can’t touch the efficiency of biopellet reactors when it comes to this process. Once you get one you’ll be blown away at the results.

Here’s how they do it:

It’s important to understand how biopellet reactors work if you want to use them in your tank. Fortunately, while the name makes it seem like there’s some futuristic technology at work, it’s really straightforward.

Your biopellet reactor basically consists of a space to store biopellets, and a pump to bring water through the reactor. When water travels through the reactor it has to make its way through the biopellets. 

When it does this, all the good bacteria we mentioned earlier works its magic on the water and cleans it. Nitrates, ammonia, and organic materials don’t stand a chance when they get brought through a biopellet reactor.

After this happens there’s another tube that spits the clean and filtered water into your tank. The process only lasts a second, but since you’re running the reactor all the time it adds up very quickly.

In order to ensure that the bacteria you need in the reactor are thriving and growing, the pellets are in constant motion. This allows the bacteria to get the necessary oxygen to make this whole process happen.

Our Picks For The Best BioPellet Reactors

When deciding on the best biopellet reactors we took a number of things into account. The research process for the products we review is something we take very seriously and like to be transparent about. 

When looking at reactors we started with community feedback on various forums as a starting point. There are a lot of experienced reefers who have tested everything under the sun when it comes to their tanks!

Then we did our own fresh research across various online stores to source a solid list to work from. This was our starting point. 

Once we had all this we cross-referenced the community feedback with some high-level markers like review score to create a hierarchy. From there it was just simply getting into the weeds and finding our winners by process of elimination. 

After doing all this we felt happy with our picks for the best biopellet reactors you can use for your tank. We hope you give one of them a shot! 

1. AquaMaxx BioMaxx XL BioPellet Reactor

This AquaMaxx biopellet reactor is one of our favorite biopellet reactors on the market for a number of reasons. It’s a very versatile reactor that can be used in a variety of tank situations without any problems. They also have different sizes you can use to make sure it fits your tank.

For a large biopellet reactor the footprint is quite manageable at 5.5 by 5.5 inches. This means if you have a sump with adequate space you can tuck it out of sight.

It doesn’t come with a pump which means you’ll have to pick one up in addition to the necessary tubing in order to use it. This isn’t a problem for us because the quality is great and it does a fantastic job of cleaning the water in your tank.

It handles the biopellets quite nicely as well and does a good job of keeping them in motion to ensure that the necessary amount of oxygen reaches the pellets. This is one of the most important jobs that a biopellet reactor can do. You could have the best pellets in the world but if they aren’t in an environment that allows bacteria to grow, it won’t matter.

The general consensus online is that this reactor does a fantastic job churning up pellets (better than a lot of competitors) and is extremely reliable. In fact, it’s pretty hard to find a buyer who isn’t happy with it!

The AquaMaxx BioMaxx biopellet reactor is made of high-quality acrylic which means you can rely on the body of the reactor for an extended period of time. The plate within the container area is designed to efficiently keep all the pellets spaced out consistently.

Another thing we like about this biopellet reactor is that the superior design of upward water flow which maximizes the amount of time that water passes through the pellets. These sort of design choices are what makes this product such a great choice for your tank.

It’s also pretty easy to clean which is something you’ll need to be doing periodically. Ease of cleaning is right up there after efficiency and reliability when it comes to aquarium equipment. Time saved during the cleaning process is more time you can spend enjoying your tank, or improving your setup.

Despite all this, it’s actually a really affordable reactor. This makes it the AquaMaxx BioMaxx biopellet reactor the complete package and an addition to your tank that we definitely recommend.

2. Reef Octopus BR70 Biopellet Reactor

Reef Octopus is a great company that consistently produces high-quality equipment for your tank. Their BR70 biopellet reactor is no different.

All great biopellet reactors should do their job when it comes to their ability to churn up pellets, clean the water, and be reliable. When we think of the the Reef Octopus BR70 Biopellet Reactor all of these things come to mind.

Much like the previous AquaMaxx biopellet reactor that we covered, you can get the Reef Octopus reactor in multiple sizes in order to fit with whatever tank setup you use. This means that if you’re a big fan of Reef Octopus you’ll have the option to let brand loyalty guide you and pick this up.

This reactor also has a very well designed and strong upward water flow which does a fantastic job in ensuring you get the full benefit of your pellets. Some reactors have an upward flow design that wastes some of the pump power which minimizes the amount of pellet exposure the water gets. That’s not the case with the BR70.

You’ll need to pick up a pump and tubing if you decide to purchase this biopellet reactor, so that’s something to be aware of. Depending on the tank and pellet count you plan on going with you’ll probably want to lean toward a pump that has a decent amount of power.

One of the featured about this biopellet reactor that we really like is the secure build quality. It has some impressive fastening screws that help ensure a secure fit seal which keeps the pellets right where they need to be. This will also save you from the chore of having to unclog and clean out pellets that make it out of the reactor area.

This is an issue that’s very common with a lot of the other biopellet reactors on the market. All it takes is one overlooked piece in the reactor seal design to cause a world of cleaning headaches later on. Also, this means you can’t trust the reactor to function on its own without supervision which is no fun for anyone.

If you’re looking for a high-quality biopellet reactor that will stand the test of time, we definitely recommend giving the Reef Octopus BR70 a shot.

3. Accel Aquatics Biopellet Reactor

Accel Aquatics is a manufacturer that doesn’t get as much attention as they deserve in our opinion. However, when it comes to their biopellet reactor they’ve gotten a ton of well-deserved praise.

One of our favorite features that this biopellet reactor offers is a high performance “flow accelerator” which does a tremendous job of jostling up the pellets while it’s running. This is something that all biopellet reactors are designed to do on some level obviously, but the amount of movement that this accelerator generates is seriously impressive.

We would probably consider this as one of the best biopellet reactors ever in terms of its ability to churn up pellets. All you have to do is watch it for a few minutes to see what we mean.

This is also a very reliable reactor when it comes to consistency and build quality. It’s pretty much impossible to find anyone who’ve had this break down or give them serious problems.

We love the idea of setting up equipment in your tank and knowing that it’s going to last you a long time. With the Accel Aquatics biopellet reactor we think you’re getting exactly this.

You’ll need to find a pump to go along with this reactor and the design of this pump gives you some great options when it comes to shopping around. You can get away with a pretty small pump compared to a lot of other reactors. We’ve heard from people running pumps as low as 260 gallons per hour with this reactor!

This affords you a lot of options when it comes to customizing your setup and finding space for this reactor. Even if you have a pretty cluttered mess of equipment in use with your tank, you’re probably going to be able to find a place to hook this up.

The price of this reactor for what you get is another huge selling point in our eyes. It’s noticeably more affordable than a lot of the other biopellet reactors on the market but still packs a punch. You won’t need to make compromises between quality and price with the Accel Aquatics Biopellet Reactor and that’s a huge win in our eyes.

So What’s Our Favorite?

We love each one of these biopellet reactors for a variety of reasons and honestly, you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

But what if we had to choose one?

Although this is a really tough decision (which should illustrate how great all these reactors are), we would go with the AquaMaxx BioMaxx XL BioPellet Reactor as our first pick.

The AquaMaxx biopellet reactor gives you so much in a relatively small package that we can’t think of any tank-owner regretting it. You’re getting an extremely efficient and reliable reactor that will run without much extra work on your end.

Some Additional Questions

What’s the installation process like?

For the most part, you’re going to want to live by the instructions that come with your biopellet reactor. Getting too hung up in best practices as opposed to manufacturer-specific instructions is a mistake that many aquarists have made over the years.

Assuming you do this, here’s roughly what you’re going to be looking at when setting it up:

You’ll want to find the best kind of biopellets that will work with your tank size and bioload. This can be done with a little bit of quick research.

Once you have the biopellets you need you can fill up your reactor with the recommended amount of pellets needed to clean your water. After this, you’ll simply put the reactor wherever you intend on housing it and you’re pretty much ready to go! Obviously, you’ll need to make sure the pump and water flow are working too, but once that’s up and running you’re off to the races.

What factors should influence my purchasing decision?

Assuming you pick from our list of recommended reactors you’re already going to be taken care of when it comes to quality, efficiency, and reliability. These are the main things you should be concerned with when purchasing a biopellet reactor and we’ve already done most of the work for you.

So with that being said, what’s left?

It’s actually pretty simple. The main thing you need to consider is the size of your tank compared to the reactor your getting. This will help you pick a biopellet reactor that will be able to handle the amount of water you have in your tank and do a thorough job of cleaning and filtering.

In order to do this, you should take your tank size and look at the available size options of the biopellet reactors we listed above. There are multiple size options that you can look at so if you’re dead-set on a certain manufacturer then you should be able to find a reactor size that works.

Once you have this all figured out you’re pretty much good to go! Just make sure you have a pump that can move enough water so you get optimal results from your reactor. Help and suggestions with this can be found on each of the product pages we listed above.

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